Inspired By: Miss Cassie North | @Teach_with_missnorth

Inspired By: Miss Cassie North | @Teach_with_missnorth

Getting a classroom up and running is hard work, especially if you’re a first year teacher. No one knows that better than Miss Cassie North, a Kindergarten teacher who lives in Montana. 

The classroom where Miss North will be teaching this year only came with tables and chairs in it. Well, for the students that is. She doesn’t even have a chair for herself right now. 

After we heard that, we knew that we had to step in and support Miss North with a back-to-school donation for her classroom, as well as some Purely Inspired products to fuel her as she gets ready for the first day of school!

Miss North recently took a break from her back-to-school classroom preparation to share what life as a first year Kindergarten teacher has been like so far. She also shares self-care techniques that work for her, explains the importance of a powerful ‘Why,’ and reveals what her classroom theme will be for this year! 

Q: Thank you so much for reaching out, Miss North. When we heard your story, we knew that we had to support you and make a donation to your classroom right away. 

Are the challenges you’re facing right now – not having anything in your classroom other than tables and chairs for your students – a common experience for teachers? Have other teachers expressed that they’re going through the same thing right now? 

A: “All teachers right now are facing challenges trying to prepare their classrooms, as well as prepare lessons and back to school things like Orientation, Meet the Teacher, or Open House. 

The biggest challenge for me has been just graduating college in May, and moving to a different state to start teaching. Many teachers walk into their classrooms for the first time, and are expected to make it a safe, fun, and active learning environment with such low salaries. 

Not only have lots of teachers expressed the challenges they face when it comes to money while preparing for a new school year, they also have expressed feelings about not wanting to return to the profession… In fact, 55% of US educators reported not wanting to return this year, or have stepped down from teaching.”

Q: While you’re obviously thrilled to have your first teaching job – congrats again, by the way! –  did you think this is what teaching life would be like after you signed the contract? 

A: “Thank you. I am thrilled about my first teaching job. Before I signed my contract, I had already been planning for my first classroom, trying to prepare items and educate myself on how to start the school year. Once I found out I would be teaching Kindergarten, I went into planning mode. I knew that teaching life would be busy and hectic at first, but it is all worth it to create the best memories with each student.”

Q: What’s your Kindergarten classroom theme this year and how did you come up with it? 

A: “My theme for my Kindergarten classroom this year is pastel rainbows. This theme was easy for me to pick because I have always loved pastel colors. Including the rainbow theme in my classroom allows me to incorporate any color rather than just one or two. Our class saying this year is: There’s a rainbow of possibilities. There are so many possibilities for students to explore and learn at this grade level.”

Q: What is a typical day in your life like right now as you prepare to get your Kindergarten classroom up and running?

A: “My typical day right now looks different from most teachers at the moment. I am about to move 10 hours from my college town to start teaching. 

Many teachers have access to their classroom right now and have started setting up. Since I don’t have my classroom yet, and won’t see it until the first week of August, I have been trying to plan what I can from afar. 

I try to wake up around 8 or 9 a.m. right now in the summer and I always make a trip to go get an Iced White Mocha to start my day. After I get my coffee and return home, I will check my personal and school emails to see what I have to do for the day. 

Many of my days lately have consisted of downloading and creating documents such as Meet the Teacher, What to Expect, and Orientation Night, as well as creating slides for my first day of school. I have been completing a couple slides a day as I am still trying to plan how the first day of school will go. Most of my planning will begin once I move, get my classroom, and meet with my colleagues to discuss the students.”

Q: Knowing all the obstacles that you are facing right now to get up and running before the first day of school, is your ‘Why’ what keeps you going? 

A: “Yes, my ‘Why’ is what keeps me going every day. I love this question because during student teaching, I created a ‘Why I Teach’ binder. This binder is where I keep student drawings, notes, or gifts that I have received. It is so special receiving handmade things from students and creating a relationship with them. The students are my ‘Why.’”

Q: When you’re feeling really stressed, what do you do for self-care? 

A: “Self-care is very important to me as I struggle with anxiety and being anxious over little things. My biggest self-care tip for myself is to disconnect and relax. I find myself getting more stressed over things than I need to be. I will turn on a TV show or a movie, turn my phone off, and do a face mask or paint my nails while watching. It gets my mind off everything going on in this crazy world and gives me time to breathe and feel like myself again.”

Q: How are you able to balance your hectic schedule and a healthy lifestyle? Do you have any simple routines or habits that you do every day that help keep you on track with your health and wellness journey? 

A: “A simple routine for me is to start every morning with a coffee. I love spending time outside so when I have the chance I like to go hiking, take walks around town, or sit peacefully on a hammock. 

One of my biggest healthy lifestyle routines right now is trying to get outside moving once a day and filling up my 64 oz water bottle to tackle drinking for the day. I am excited for the school year to start, as I will fall into a better daily routine – even though my schedule will definitely be hectic. I’ll make time for myself and my health.” 

Q: What’s the best way that people can support teachers, especially first year teachers who are trying to get their classrooms up and running? 

A: “The best way for people to support teachers, especially first year teachers is by donating through Wishlists. Almost every teacher creates a wishlist that consists of learning resources, classroom furniture, decorations, or supplies for the students. 

Anyone can go on their wishlist and purchase an item or two and it gets shipped directly to the teacher. If anyone is able to help out, please check out teachers’ wishlists. Some teachers also set up a Donors Choose project where the public can donate any amount to help fund the project.”

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